What Are You Reading Monday?

It’s been a long, strange year. Very little writing has occurred but I’ve read a ton. So today, I thought I would revisit

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Besure to check out the Book Date blog!

Basically for this post I tell you what I just read, what I’m reading now, and what’s up next. Easy Peasy.

Last week I read…

 

The Alcatraz Rose: A Lawrence Kingston Mystery

The Alcatraz Rose by Anthony Eglin

This is the second or third book I’ve read by Anthony Eglin in the Lawrence Kingston Mystery Series. Lawrence is a retired Botanist (I think?) who solves crimes on the side. This one surrounds a young mother who disappeared 10 years ago and the recent discovery of an extinct English rose on the grounds of Alcatraz.

It’s a short book and an enjoyable read. There were plenty of red herrings and a tangled web of gardening fanatics and criminals. Not to mention a decades old truck robbery that was never solved.  Lovely cover as well.

What I’m reading now…

I picked up this book at the used book store because I’ve never read a John LeCarre book. He’s supposed to be one of the best suspense/mystery writers around. We shall see. I’m only 60 pages in at the moment. From Goodreads:

 

A Most Wanted Man

“A half-starved young Russian man in a long black overcoat is smuggled into Hamburg at dead of night. He has an improbable amount of cash secreted in a purse around his neck. He is a devout Muslim. Or is he? He says his name is Issa.” “Annabel, an idealistic young German civil rights lawyer, determines to save Issa from deportation, Soon her client’s survival becomes more important to her than her own career – or safety. In pursuit of Issa’s mysterious past, she confronts the incongruous Tommy Brue, the sixty-year-old scion of Brue Freres, a failing British bank based in Hamburg.” Annabel, Issa and Brue form an unlikely alliance and a triangle of impossible loves is born. Meanwhile, scenting a sure kill in the “War on Terror,” the rival spies of Germany. England and America converge upon the innocents.

What’s up next…

Next, I will read a book by a local author.

Shades of BlueShades of Blue By Joyce Scarbrough

This small volume has been on my shelf for far too long. I believe it’s a YA romance. Joyce is a wonderful author and if you haven’t read one of hers, pick one up.

 

 

There you go. These are just a few of the books sitting on my TBR chair.

What are you reading?

-CK

 

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Road Trip

I love a good road trip. Heck, I love a bad road trip.

Old school map.

I have fond memories from childhood of being stuffed in a car with my family, driving insane distances to view something amazing, and then stop at every odd road side attraction. So of course I wish to pass that on to my kids. But you first must prepare for a road trip. You can’t just hop in the car and go– that causes chaos.

Everyone knows to grab a map, cash, and clothes. But there are other things that are just as important for a long trek in the car. So he goes,

Road Trip Packing List

  • Popcorn– That’s right you heard me, popcorn. Not the store bought stuff on the chip aisle. Don’t get the microwave kind either unless you have a fancy SUV that comes with its own tiny microwave.  I’m talking about that really good popcorn at the local gourmet shop. Now, hold on. Here you can buy 2lbs of buttered popped corn for $10. 2Lbs of popcorn is the size of a toddler. That’s a lot of popcorn. It will last my family of four through an entire one week road trip. Granted when you get home you’ll be finding popcorn for weeks but it’s worth it.
  • Paper towels– You should know this. If you spend 6 hours or more in a car you will need paper towels. Especially if you have popcorn.
  • Red solo cups– They don’t have to be red. Solo cups make the perfect holder for popcorn. It allows you to eat it without getting your hands dirty. Genius! It also makes a great holder for small treasures you find along the way like shells, rocks, and gold doubloons.
  • Playlist/tunes– Every trips deserves its own playlist. I still take a few CDs’s along but most of the time I play mp3’s.  My favorite playlists for traveling are: Spring Break, Summer, and Road Trip. They have tunes specific for the season or long driving sessions. Yes, Radar Love is included. 🙂 Sometime I will make a list geared to the city. New Orleans would have a totally different list of music than Memphis.

    How am I old enough for a teen driver?

  • Reading material– I love to read so I take 2 or 3 paperbacks as well as my kindle. Hubby claims the kindle causes a glare 😦 I also tailor my reading to the trip. This last trip was to North Carolina so I had a handful of mysteries set in the Outer Banks.
  • Toys– That’s right. Take toys. I have teenagers but I still take playing cards, coloring books, and crosswords along for the ride. The girls each took books to read and have a phone but you never know…
  • Towels– It dosesn’t matter where you go. Take a towel. I have one kid who will “accidentally” fall in any bit of water they find. It pays to be prepared.
  • First-aid kit– Again, I have that one child who always needs a bandage or an x-ray.
  • Kites– This is specific to the trip we took. But if you are heading to the beach or an area with open spaces a kite is fun and relaxing. It ended up being too windy to fly our kites but we had them.

Make new friends.

 

Road trips are a great way to bond with the wee ones. It’s an adventure where all sorts of things can go wrong 🙂

What do you take on a road trip?

-CK

 

Travel Inspired Reading

Outer Banks Bound

The family vacation this year is a quick road trip through the outer Banks of North Carolina.

I’ve never been there and it sounds like fun.

If you don’t know, the Outer Banks includes famous places like: Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, and Cape Hatteras. So along we the required reading of guide books, I’ve accumulated a stack of North Carolina inspired reads.

We have a while before we leave, school is still in session 🙂 But it’s good to be prepared.

North Carolina Reading List

  • Black Beard by Angus Konstam- that’s right Black Beard in linked to the OBX. I can’t wait to see the well his head was thrown in after he was killed.
  • A Death in Duck by Mindy Quigley- Yes, there is a city called Duck! This is set at Christmas but I think I’ll still read it.
  • Reading Up a Storm by Eva Gates- set on Bodie Island with a lighthouse.

Those are the three I have at the moment. If you know of any good books, fiction or non-fiction set in the Outer Banks, please let me know there’s still room on my list 🙂

-CK

 

Haint Blue

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Life has been crazy, forcing me to put aside writing and focus on home and hearth. And read. I hope Spring will bring a little peace and time, and frame of mind, to write.

Haint Blue

Every Southerner knows what haint blue is and what it’s used for.

Haint Blue is a specific color traditionally used in the South to paint the ceiling of porches. I don’t have a porch. If I did I would paint it blue. A soft blue-green to be precise.

But why the name?

Haint means to haunt or ghost.

So haint blue means blue ghost…?

Why? If asked most will say the ceiling is painted blue becasue that’s just the way it is done. I’ve never seen any color other than blue.  A soft shade of blue brings to mind breezy summer days. It invites a body in to sit a spell and drink iced tea in a swing. I’m not entirely sure what a ghost has to do with it.

A bit of research…

Ah, here we go. Haint blue is protection from influence of restless spirits, much like our bottle trees.

Sherman Williams has a nice page on Haint blue if you are interested in reading a bit about it and browsing through the colors. Maybe after my kitchen is finished my honey will build me a porch.

The Land of Color also has a nice article full of lovely colors.

The Awl takes a more historical look at haint blue. I highly suggest this article.

There you go. Haint blue ceilings. What color is your porch?

-CK

What do you read?

I recently read an article about female writers are on the decline. With the current push for diverse books I’m a tad skeptical. I admit, most of the books I read are cozy mystery books. That genre seems to be mainly female authors and protagonists. Not always.

This year I have read 19: 2 books were written by men and 17 were by women, including 1 by a wife/husband team.

So I decided to take a look a the books I read in 2017.

In 2017 I read 96 books 🙂

Authors:

female- 66

male- 28

both authored same book- 1

Yes, I realize I my math doesn’t add up. I missed a book somewhere. It’s safe to say it was probably written by a woman.

Because I’m avoiding my WIP, let’s go one step further and look at the genres I read. This should be interesting.

Genres:

mystery- 38

fantasy/sci-fi- 11

non-fiction- 11

fiction- 7

YA- 21

children/middle grade- 6

romance- 1

WOW! I actually thought I read more fantasy than that. Well, YA is fantasy…mostly. Only 1 romance! Yeah, I don’t read romance.

And yes, I’m still missing a book somewhere… **sigh**

Anyway. For even more fun let’s see how these books were published.

Publication:

traditional- 75

indie- 21

That time my math works!

What does all this mean? It means I read a lot of books by and about women knee deep in dead bodies!

Take away:

I don’t know if there is a decline in women writer’s. I don’t have a problem finding new books by female authors. When choosing a book, I don’t look at gender or skin color of the writer or protagonist. I didn’t break down race because I’m pretty sure it’s overwhelmingly white.  And I would have to think really hard about each book and that’s too much work this morning.  If you went with me to the book store/library, you would see me walk down the aisles, picking books up to gaze at the cover and title. I might look at the author but I can guarantee I never read the back blurb. I apologize to all the authors. I know how hard those back blurbs are to write.

So, my reading isn’t very diverse. I lean toward southern mysteries centering around a female protagonist. If you happen to know about a mystery featuring a non-white protagonist let me know.

All this talk of books makes me want to go to the library.

Catch you later,

-CK

 

 

Down The TBR Hole #3

Down the TBR Hole

This meme was started by Lost in a Story (not sure why the link is odd)

Here are the rules:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

I have a serious book problem. My Goodreads TBR is out of hand because I love the giveaways. I’m also easily disractedby new books.

Product Details

Fish Nets The Second Guppy Anthology by Ramona DeFelice Long

I own this on my kindle. I’ve read one or two stories. I need to finish it. The stories are mysteries by Sisters in Crime members.

 

 

Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlise

I’ve read several in this series but never the first book. *sigh* I should do that soon. I enjoy the characters and the setting. There’s no reason for this to still be on my TBR!

 

Guilty by David Baldacci

I tried to read this and didn’t make it past the first chapter. The way the southern accent is written drove me mad!

 

 

Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

Seriously! Look at that cover. And the title. Hold on…*tap,tap,tap*… My library has this and I just put it on hold. This book looks like all kinds of fun!

 

In Times Like These by Nathan Van Coops

This is a time-travel story with lots of great reviews! It’s also free on kindle. *tap,tap,tap* just what I needed another book on my kindle 🙂

 

 

The Take Away

I deleted 1 book from my Goodreads list.

Placed 2 books on my IGTIBID List. (I’ll get to it before I die)

I need to finish reading 1 book and Ireserved 1 from the library with hopes of reading it before Valentine’s Day!

That brings my Goodreads TBR shelf to 941 books!

-CK

Read the Books You Have

If you’ve read this blog for long, you know I have a problem with books. I love to read. A few years ago (2014) I bought a paperwhite kindle. In the years since I have aquired around 537 books . Those are only the books I haven’t read. That’s a lot of books. There’s also around 20 books on my bookshelf I need to read!

Most of these books were free or spur of the moment purchases. Some I started and hated. A few are classics I know I will never read.

I’m going to look at the 5 oldest books on my Kindle. Then decide if it’s a book I will read. Then I will chose one to read this month. Similar to the TBR hole.

The Books:

Water Dance: The Story of a Were-Mermaid (The Sisterhood of the Ring Book 1) by [Greenstein, Jay]

Water Dance: The Story of a Were-Mermaid (The Sisterhood of the Ring Book 1) By Jay Greenstein

Aug. 2014, It was free and there is a mermaid. It was actually one of the 4 books I purchased when I bought my kindle. The blurb sounds familair, I think I may have started reading it but didn’t finish.

The Summer I Learned to Dive by [McCrimmon, Shannon]

The Summer I Learned to Dive by Shannon McCrimmon

Sept. 2014, This sounds like a YA book. It has pretty good reviews. I don’t know why I haven’t read it. I do see a theme with these books. Do you?

Secret Adversary by [Christie, Agatha]

Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

Sept. 2014, Somethinf I’ve learned about these public domain books. The formatting can be crap. The formatting is weird in this one. There dosne’t seem to be page breaks between sections. The pages just run into each other. I haven’t read this and I’m leaning to just deleting all of the public domain books I have. *sigh*

 

The Turn of the Screw by [James, Henry]

Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Oct. 2014, Another public domain book. Flipping through the first few pages the formatting looks okay.  I think I tried to read this once and gave up. I should probably keep these. I need a book with an ugly/boring cover for a reading challenge.

Too Close to Home (Women of Justice Book #1): A Novel by [Eason, Lynette]

Too Close to Home (Women of Justice Book #1): A Novel by Lynette Eason

Nov. 2014, I read book 3 in this series which is why I bought book 1. There tend to be full of tension and suspense.

 

Take Away:

Delete: 2 books deleted- they were free so it’s okay.

TBR: 1 book moved to the top of my TBR list, Too Close to Home

That brings the grand total of unread books on my Kindle to 537!

-CK